An employee manual can simultaneously save a company money and protect it from potentially crippling lawsuits. In this brief article, a Houston construction lawyer with Cotney Law will be discussing why your construction company needs a comprehensive employee manual. If you would like an attorney to review your employee manual to ensure that it is up-to-date on all state and federal laws, please consult one of our Houston construction lawyers.
Your Shield Against Lawsuits
A comprehensive employee handbook can protect you against erroneous workers’ compensation claims. Depending on the state, injuries that result from horseplay, drugs and alcohol, crime, and altercations among employees may not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance if the employee manual specifically warns against such behavior. If an injured employee attempts to bypass workers’ compensation and sue you directly, an employee manual will go a long way in proving that you did not approve of the employee’s behavior.
A Plan to Fight Addiction
In addition to protecting you against workers’ compensation claims, a thorough drug policy in your employee manual will ensure that employees are aware of the repercussions of drug use on the jobsite. It will also inform employees of any resources in the company or community that can help them with addiction. As we’ve covered previously, drug use is rampant in construction due to the dangers and pressures of the industry. It’s important that you have a plan in place for when a problem arises.
Being Aware in the Digital Age
Just about every construction worker has access to a smartphone that can upload an image to the internet in the blink of an eye. This image could be of confidential information or an employee working without the proper safety equipment. A smartphone can also be the cause of distraction and even danger to your workers and heavy machine operators. For these reasons, you must have an employee manual that outlines when and where a smartphone can be used.
Travel Time and Wages
One of the most beneficial reasons for having a comprehensive employee manual is that it precisely outlines a worker’s pay, the work they are to be paid for, and what kind of worker they are classified as. An employee manual that specifically defines stipulations regarding wages and travel time will prevent disputes before they can begin. This is imperative considering that the Department of Labor (DOL) has been coming down on worker misclassification and forcing companies to pay unpaid wages.
An employee manual can help solve and prevent virtually any problem so long as you plan for it in advance. Don’t wait for an impending DOL hearing to flip through your employee manual. If you need help reviewing and improving your employee manual, consult with one of the Houston construction lawyers at Cotney Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.